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Five Klicks From the Zone Chapter 1
by Andrew C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2020 13:27:08

As a solo gamer, Nordic Weasel is my go-to producer of great rule sets designed for my particular gaming preference. The beauty is that games designed as solo experiences translate WAY easier to cooperative or opposed play than the other way around. For games meant to be played against an opponent, there is usually an "empty" feel to a set of solo play rules. Overly simplified AI, enemies that simply run full speed across the table like a pack of mindless zombies, and other oddities can make the enemy feel less "thinking" and lean towards random behavior.

I really appreciate that there is some ongoing support and development for this game as well, with the third expansion just being released. Expansions have created new enemy types, new locations, and (most important) new loot.

I'd give this 6-stars if I could.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Klicks From the Zone Chapter 1
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Knyghte Pyke and Sworde
by douglas m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2020 04:13:07

Medieval mass skirmish! That’s what it says on the cover!

If you are looking for an eloquent multiplayer rule set that enables fun skirmish situations from earlier eras of warfare then this rule system will suit you wonderfully.
The mechanics are easy, but not too simple. Based on d6 rolling higher than a target number. The basic rules get out of the way of the fun, and are simple enough to learn fast. However there is enough intricacy to keep it fresh, without becoming dive into hardcore simulation.

A basic game can easily be played with a handful of foot or mounted figures (typically 3 or 6 of each type per unit), and a couple of lone figures to represent individuals that are a cut above the rank and file. Worry not though, the rules can handle much larger scenarios and figure counts the only thing that will be affected is the game duration. You will find that there is nuance to the different types of unit classes that make for interesting strategic and tactical options. The terrain and environment handling is simple, but meaningful. I have personally tested the game at smaller engagement and figure scales (15mm) on a 2’ foot square play area, and it works just wonderfully. My personal preference is to have a few different types of markers on hand for the little bit of visual bookkeeping, although not required. You can easily get by with offboard tracking on paper.

Included inside are basic rules for battlefield situations. A nice simple, yet modular, point based force building system will allow you to get to the table quick. The author has added fun sections on bringing the battlefield to life with items like weather charts, persistent campaign play rules, and unit development. Much more is included also. Everything past the basic rules is optional. I WILL POINT OUT IN BOLD THAT THIS NORDIC WEASEL OFFERING DOESN’T HAVE AN INTRINSIC SOLO RULE SECTION. It is designed as is for multiplayer.

The layout is easy to read, and print. I personally sent it out to be printed and bound. It works well at my table. Maybe the weakest point might be the layout, although I prefer simple and easy to read, some may find the this book to be a little too light in the art and layout department. It’s not all text wall and such. Nice line art of weapons and other appropriate accoutrement are in there. Your mileage may vary in that aspect. I prefer it. Using the PDF on a tablet or laptop would work well too.

If you are looking for a good uncomplicated medieval skirmish game then this is it. The price is right. The rules are the right balance of crunchy and “out of the way”. The whole package is very easy to understand. As a bonus the author is receptive to rules questions (I know I bugged him a few times to clarify). GO get it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Knyghte Pyke and Sworde
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Chrome Hammer
by telzy a. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/28/2020 21:45:08

First I love the cover. Really sets the mood. Second it's a skirmish cyberpunk game. RPGs can be really complex and some of the cyberpunk games on Wargame Vault too. This is an interesting fast playing game. The scenarios are the Classic rpg cyberpunk scenarios but playable in a few hours. The campaign mod is simple. There is no solitare option. You can play in meatspace or on the net and by that I mean this is a face to face game, not playable on the real net. Your cyberpunks versus the Corporation or 'punks vs 'punks. And for a big game with lots of stuff corp vs corp.

The book internal graphics are excellent. Organizatiion moves you along showing you how combat works, then how the net works and what edges are available. Edges are all the cool options you can add to your character.

It's all there and inexpensive. Why wait, go get it



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chrome Hammer
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Rules Pack Alpha for No End in Sight
by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/17/2020 13:28:05

I bought this (at the writers recommendation no less!) as an add-on for No Stars in Sight - and it works just fine. It's mostly an array of additional game mechanics usable with No End in Sight that are equally usable with NSIS. They inlude rules variants, expansions and system add-ons to expand and increase detail. Some are of more limited use than others, but many can be uased at will - as a useful hint the writer provides comments on each new rule that explain what changes the new rule will have on the players game. This is a useful and eimple expansion, and is (like NSIS) simply & clearly written and quite useful.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rules Pack Alpha for No End in Sight
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Five Men at Kursk
by Steven P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/09/2020 23:20:47

I read throught he entire book last night. This game is intended for small unit actions...up to a few squads, witht he chance for some supporting fire or vehicles. The suggested starting force has six figures per side, on a small table. I used a 2x3 foot board, witha small village in the center. The first try saw the Germans and americans approch from opposite directions. dice are rolled by each side to determine the number of actions, and which actions, the soldiers are allowed. Not everyonne will be able to act(but just might get to react). As the americans moved into cover on their side of town, one German fired his rifle, missing, but disrupting his target. One the German turn they too tried to get cover from the buildings. Two americans were hit and went down, while one German did so. On the rally phase, one of the Americans was found to be alright, while the other was dead. As the firefight continued, the US sergeant had a chance to spray down the street, and put another german 'out of action'. Right right flank rifleman took out another German, and the remaining Germans picked up their wounded and left. (The practice scenario goes to the first side to inflict three 'out of actions'.

The game took ten minutes, checking charts for weapons ranges and #dice to throw, The next game will be quicker. I used "Axis and allies' figures, with no special basing required. I am going to play this scenario a few more times, then start rolling for random support troops, and othe options that the game includes. I like the layout, the Quick Refenrence Charts, and the fast flow of play. The lists of supporting weapons and vehicles is rather extensive, and most of what is not included, will be no trouble for most 'tredheads' to rate on their own,

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Men at Kursk
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No Stars in Sight. Hard scifi platoon action
by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/04/2020 14:35:07

No Stars in Sight is aimed at the sub-company level game, with players taking a platoon or two of infantry, with perhaps a vehicle or two in support. However, larger games are easily playable with these rules. Although the rules are intended for a near future hard sci-fi game setting, the rules also include full options for sc-fant & space opera games. As well as these optional rules NSiS also includes rules covering several types of alien races ... The Swarm, Warriors, The Many to name but a few. The basic rules are very simple and quick to grasp, but once more options and variant troop types become involved NSiS becomes a much more in-depth game, although care must be taken to make sure you know how your soldiers will 'work' in the rules - playing a few games will soon result in you knowing what (and how) to 'work' with them!

The infantry combat rules take a little getting used to if you're used to the idea that your little lead soldiers will do what you want each & every turn, no questions asked - in NSiS they'll quickly begin to lose effectiveness as a fight progresses; this means that each game can become increasingly tense as your soldiers get pinned own just short of their objectives, or as that horde of melee focussed bug warriors appears over the hill crest. Teamwork & proper use of all available cover is absolutely vital - trying an uncordinated mad dash across open ground, or the traditional line 'em up & march 'em forwards across that field approach, will quickly result in a hail of reaction fire and casualties galore that will stop your troops (dead) in their tracks ... As befits a smaller level game focussed on platoons & squads what happens to your wounded troopers matters (unless you're playing a swarm of uncaring alien beasties, that is).

The inluded vehicle rules are neat and tidy and work well within the rules without the (normal) problem inherent to smaller level games, that being the vehicles used in small scale games overpowering & dominating the infantry action - NSiS is very much an infantry platoons & squads game.

The rules themselves are clearly & neatly written & presented, with the occasional piece of artwork not detracting from or overwhelming the presentation - printed in greyscale & spiral bound with a laminated cover, it makes a nice little rulebook for a very reasonable price.

No Stars in Sight is a very impressive ruleset, a worthy compatriot to SG II, and way superior to Gruntz in almost all respects. Nuff sed ...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
No Stars in Sight. Hard scifi platoon action
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Usurper - Claim to power: A game of lords, rogues and adventurers
by Ranjith B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/26/2020 15:56:57

I have had this RPG for so long and only recently (okay a few months ago) finally got around to playing it. But now that I have seen it live up to expectations, I wanted to share my impressions/feelings about it.

As usual, I start with the things that are not so good or may be a problem for people.

First of all, the explanation of the story mode character creation system is incomplete/misleading. It is not a big deal as it is easy to deduct that there should be traits handed out during the steps that have nothing listed. It is still inconvenient.

Secondly, I don't see the reason why advantages/disadvantages are limited to combat. Having advantages with normal skill checks as well would offer potential invitations to not simply try something but rather set up the thing to improve your chances, especially since there are no numerical modifiers.

Third, as a personal note, I don't really believe in the default system of using traits. You have six traits. Each positive trait can be used once before it needs to be replenished either by sleeping (which replenishes a single trait) or by suffering the consequences of a negative trait (which also restores a single trait). So, traits are extremely valuable but rare. In the default system, you have to decide whether you invest a trait into a roll beforehand. Which means investing a lot and the possible outcomes do not change thanks to the trait usage for it means that you roll two sets of dice and pick the one you like for your result. The so-called easy mode sounds more reasonable as traits are used to get re-rolls; so you roll first and then decide whether you invest to get a second chance.

Fourth, this combines with third; combat, on the other hand, does not use the default system but rather always easy mode, which kind of runs counter to the idea of a default mode for the game.

Fifth, details like whether you can use multiple traits on a single roll are not dealt with. Similarly, it seems as if there should be a limitation that you can not use normal traits or normal conviction burning to re-roll a result of gruesome death; otherwise the rules for avoiding it would become meaningless.

Sixth, there are tons of random tables, but there are no solo rules for it. Why?

There are a few things that Usurper does not include or that do not work well with it.

Classic dungeon crawls with lots of monsters do not work for the rules. Usurper is designed to have risky combat and the trait system described above means that resources are quite limited. A dungeon full of monsters could probably deal even with experienced pcs as they eventually run out of traits and convictions and are left at the mercy of the dice.

The default setting does not have any spells and no arcane magic users at all. If you are a loyal servant of a god, you may pray for a miracle, but that is left to the fancy of a table to determine in its outcome. Magic in general is nothing for mortals to wield.

That last point may be seen as a positive by people and it is for me. Usurper does not come with a default world you play in, but it comes with the tools of (randomly) generating your own iteration of their default setting of a medieval world of fantasy and horror. As mentioned above, magic is not the providence of men but of gods - and the underdark. The underworld of Usurper is not merely dark and home to monsters, it is a place of madness and chaos and it changes whatever is in it, including adventurers braving it. Monsters are individuals rather than races, although the rules do support non-human pcs and so you could have demihumans or goblinoid races. But things like dragons are supposed to be unique (and can be created randomly).

Add to this the balancing of the system. While player characters are supposed to be competent people with many skills, combat is supposed to be a risky, deadly affair. No matter how experienced your character is, any combat can end with their death. There are also rules for mental trauma, which should be applied in stressful situations which may include the first combat of a character or encountering a new monster. GMs are adviced to play NPCs accordingly, having them flee combant or surrender instead of fighting to the death - until the real monsters appear and break that rule.

The system itself is a narrative system that doesn't feel like it. At its core, you declare your intended action and then roll 1d100 against a table of some 15 possible outcomes including also interruption by a random event. That one table is used for all basic actions except for dealing with gods or combat. You swim across a river, roll on that table. You try to bribe a guard (that's the example), roll on that table. You try to charm a lady, roll on that table. You try to defeat a monster in combat, roll on the combat table. The basic table also has an evil brother, the heroic deed table. It is for cases where your character tries something beyond human power, stretching beyond their limit. While the basic table has a good chance of success, failure is quite likely for a heroic deed and it can be fatal. This is a great tool for improvising high risk actions.

The above may raise two questions:

What about your foes, how do they act? The game is player-facing, that is, only the players roll dice. Their characters either act or react to the actions of others and roll their dice. The GM does not roll dice in task resolution or combat.

What about modifiers? There are none. The game is truely statless having not even fake stats like some non-numerical games have. You have traits and convictions, and you may burn them for re-rolls, that's it. Opponents may have traits that force you to re-roll a good roll and in combat at least, you can get a temporary trait of advantage or disadvantage depending on the situation and on the combatants. That's all there is as far as mechanisms are concerned. While it sounds like a lot of hand-waving, the fact that you are bound to the result of the table makes it rather strict again. You roll (and maybe re-roll) and then you know what happens. While the table describes things in general terms, each entry is quite clear about its message and how you should interpret it for your situation. And the results go beyond simple failure or success giving you a clear direction of where the narration is going now.

It is really interesting as it requires you to think differently about roleplaying and how to evaluate a situation. You have to take a strictly narrative standpoint and examine whether an action is reasonable rather than figuring out which attribute to add to which skill or whatever.

There are also no hit points or sanity points (the game does have rules for mental trauma and insanity); if you goof up in combat, you may get bruised, injured, killed or suffer a gruesome death (which has its own table with interesting results, the most extreme being "So unspeakable that onlookers must roll for Mental Trauma" - and blood and gore everywhere is another entry).

Traits and convictions only give you that powerful special advantage of the re-roll. They are part of what your character is, but they do not limit your character. Even if a character does not have a trait that fits a situation, the character can try to act if it seems plausible, the narration here informs the rules. Because of that, the rules do not have a long list of traits but rather have you freely design your own for your character concept. And since there are no prescribed traits, you are not limited by not having chosen a certain trait, unlike in classic games where lacking a skill means inability or handicap in doing things dependent on that skill. Instead, your character can try anything that your character can reasonably be expected to be able to try (or do a heroic deed going beyond the possible).

The system is extremely elegant and efficient. And it is actually generic. While the random content generators are clearly tuned into the default setting, the core rules, including the tables for combat and task resolution as well as character creation can easily be used for any genre or type of game. Of course, some tables need to be interpreted rather freely and some tables for specific things like damage to spaceships are missing, but the basic core can be used as is. But as I said before, it does not work well with scenarios where resources are used up quickly like dungeon crawls.

In order to try out a tool for creating Cthulhu type stories, I created a modern character using the default story mode character creation system and it worked without any modifications necessary. Unfortunately the tool I tried to use did not live up to expectations, so I didn't get to apply the task resolution or combat rules of Usurper, but they are flexible enough that I would have been able to use them without modification as well.

In addition, it comes with a ton of random tables for generating the world, NPCs (rolling up their aims rather than their looks), cities and their factions, trade goods, dungeon features, monsters, followers, and lots more. There is also an adventure tool for simulating an opposing faction the PCs have to weaken and which may (randomly) strike at them, attacking them or the things dear to them. Of course, there are also tables for personal, local, and regional random events. For those interested in solo play, this game is a perfect fit, and it is surprising that it lacks a GME. And rules for domain play.

So, if you want to play Your character and like a narrative game that still has a solid skeleton while giving you great freedom, I really think you should give this game a try. It is a real gem.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Usurper - Claim to power: A game of lords, rogues and adventurers
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Creator Reply:
First and foremost, thank you so much for your very kind review. Some of the questions you raise are things that a potential second edition will have to address. They are essentially short-comings of the original design (like the advantage mechanic being confined to combat). As far as why there are no solo rules, truth be told, I did not yet understand solo RPG'ing and never really thought about Usurper as a solo game. I did not purchase Mythic (which introduced me to the concept, even though I'd done solo miniatures gaming before) until some time afterwards. The fact that most players have come to embrace the game as a solo game is very good! If I get to do an updated version, I will definitely be emphasizing that aspect more to make things as usable as possible.
Blade and Lockpick. A game engine for solo and two player games
by Jeffrey G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/04/2019 00:01:31

I have been looking for a good solo engine for awhile now and nothing has fully stuck with me. But this one is proving to be an interesting exception. I have decided to use it to model a super-hero game. So far I have created a team of four heroes who have been patrolling. I am using the "Oracle" for some of the narrative beats and a hodge-podge of "Super Hero Mission Generators" from around the web that I am adapting for use with this game. I am four days (a dozen patrols) into my quartet's adventures, and so far they've saved a villain (unknown to the general populace) from a vengeful new hero (in a very close battle indeed!), thwarted a robbery, and saved an airliner (carrying the very same as-yet-unknown villain) from a vandalism-caused crash! The battles and the rescue have been generally close, and I have been using minions or bystanders to fill out the teams- in the case of the latter, they don't fight, but they do sometimes take hits that might otherwise have struck down a hero or bad-guy. The system is working pretty well for me so far! My only complaint, really, is that there's a -lot- of wasted space on many pages- it probably takes a third more paper to print than it should based on the content. All in all, this has been fun and is inspiring some great solo play!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Blade and Lockpick. A game engine for solo and two player games
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Five Leagues from the Borderlands 2E
by Patrick C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/05/2019 17:42:23

A very interesting and good game. The idea is basic, you create a band of heros, and they get some followers. Essentially followers are less capable heros.

Your band can move between various fringes of civilization, encountering things mundane to otherworldly, but almost always dangerous in the extreme.

Your characters can increase in skill, and can gain useful and valuable items.

The various supplement allow for more toys and more serious dangers.

It's a lot of fun, and easy to play, but exciting. It can easily fit inside any existing world you might have or want to get.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Leagues from the Borderlands 2E
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Five Leagues from the Borderlands 2E
by Lanse T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/13/2019 13:52:41

I have played many hours of first edition and am very pleased with what I have seen during play of 2nd. The good parts were made better, and the parts I tended to forget in play were coincidentally removed. I look forward to future supplements.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Going to go fishing - An activity for Five Leagues
by Patrick C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/12/2019 22:19:21

What seems a silly module does have some point. You can fish, and if lucky you catch fish that you can sell for gold OR make into ration.

Usable with 2nd ed., it gives your band something to do when others are resting.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Going to go fishing - An activity for Five Leagues
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The Blighted Lands
by Patrick C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/12/2019 22:10:58

Why come here indeed!

A shorter campaign setting, than normal. It has two types of encounters, nomads, and animals.

Aminals are tough, and you don't get much when you win.

Nomads are a different type of human.

A tough and easily frustrating campaign, suitable for more experienced bands.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Blighted Lands
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Hope of Glory - A Five Leagues campaign
by Patrick C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/12/2019 22:00:06

This is a campaign easily used with 2nd ed., but one with no monsters or evil monsters.

Just the evil of your fellow man, who wants to split your head open and take your stuff.

Your band will do 8 patrols for a noble in a land at war.

The set of encounters are new, and some new skills can be had here as well.

If you prefer to find normal folk, man to man (literally!) this is the one for you.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Hope of Glory - A Five Leagues campaign
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The Goblin Hills
by Patrick C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/12/2019 21:51:10

A campaign for 5 leagues, and easily used with 2nd edition.

A different campaign than dark woods, here you have a new and specific monster type, which has its own specific fighting styles and weapons. They also have a type of magic.

This campaign has stages. Each one is different, and harder than the last.

Its easy to lose this campaign, due to the calamity mechanic. You do get the chance to get a LOT of loot, as well as some interesting goblin treasure.

I think this is tougher than the dark woods, I would want a more experience band before heading here.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Goblin Hills
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Dark Woods of Winter
by Patrick C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/12/2019 21:28:57

I nice expansion for 5 Leagues, and I find it quite compatible with the 2nd edition, with really nothing to change.

Basically what is different is the encounters tables, and the after battle loot and such.

You have "Fey" creatures, which some items affect more, and others don't affect at all. Hope you have the right things!!

Areas tend to be more dense, so there will be less ranged combat, more up close and personal stuff. There is only one village, that helps.

There are new (and strange) type of enemies, many not quite human or plain not at all human.

If you want a more "spooky" adventure, this is for you.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Woods of Winter
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